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China, ASEAN to uphold multilateralism and free trade

Updated: Oct 24,2018 8:37 AM     CGTN

China is willing to work with the ASEAN countries to uphold rules-based multilateralism and free trade system, and uphold core role of the United Nations in international affairs, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

He made the remarks when meeting with ambassadors of the 10 ASEAN countries to China on Oct 23, adding that China-ASEAN cooperation should continue to play a leading role in East Asia cooperation.

“Cooperation of China-Japan-ROK (Republic of Korea) and ASEAN should be committed to advancing regional economic integration and building an East Asian economic community,” he said.

China firmly supports the building of the ASEAN community and supports ASEAN’s important and active role in regional cooperation, he stressed.

China-ASEAN relations have entered a mature stage, he said, adding that China is willing to better integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.

Wang noted that the two sides should work together to promote China-ASEAN relations to a new level, taking the opportunity of the 15th anniversary of China-ASEAN strategic partnership this year.

China supports necessary reforms to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and maintains that reforms should be conducive to upholding the basic principles of the WTO and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, he stressed.

The ambassadors responded that ASEAN has the strongest relationship with China, of all ASEAN’s dialogue partners, and is willing to strengthen practical cooperation with China in politics, economy and people-to-people exchanges.

Wang Yi and the ambassadors also exchanged views on the South China Sea issue, agreeing that situation in the South China Sea has become stable with joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries.

They stressed the importance of arriving at the single draft text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea and will continue to push forward the consultation.

The draft text will serve as the basis of future COC negotiations.

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